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Potential Hostage Deal Between Israel And Hamas; Now: Israeli Cabinet Meeting On Tentative Hostage Deal; GA Judge Won't Jail Trump Co-Defendant Over Social Media Posts; AAA: More Than 55 Million People Will Travel By Car Or Plane During Thanksgiving Holiday. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired November 21, 2023 - 17:00   ET



PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: Hostage families are anxiously awaiting a final vote and an official announcement that could come at any moment.

Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. Wolf Blitzer is off today, I'm Pamela Brown and you're in the Situation Room.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN Breaking News.

BROWN: And let's get right to that breaking news on Israel deciding whether to sign off and a deal to free some women and children held hostage by Hamas. CNN correspondents are in the region and right here in Washington covering this critical moment in the war. First, I want to go to CNN's Matthew Chance in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Matthew, what is the latest word on this proposed deal and what it entails?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CHIEF GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, that deal, Pam, is still being debated by the Israeli cabinet. They've been meeting for hours. That could be several hours still, we're told, before a decision is finally reached.

But the terms of that deal are pretty clear. It would involve the release of at least 50 Israeli hostages from a Gaza by the Palestinian group, Hamas, over a period of between four and five days. So there'd be about 10 people every day being released. In the meantime, Israel would pause its conflict, pause its hostilities there and allow for that hostage release to take place. The Israelis have said they'd be open to the possibility of a further pause as well, as long as Hamas was open to the possibility of releasing more hostages.

Also in exchange from the Israeli side, that would be a release of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, women and children. And remember, it's women and children among the hostages that are being negotiated for right now. And there would also be potentially a much greater increase in humanitarian aid that allowed to go into the Gaza Strip from Rafa, from the Egyptian side.

And so, this is the deal that's on the table right now. As I say, it's still being debated. The expectation is that it will be green-lighted by the Israeli government. Once it is, of course, there's still a grace period of 24 hours to allow people to appeal the decision in the Supreme Court. That's a legal period of 24 hours that has to be put in place before this deal can become operational.

So the deal is being debated tonight, we're still some way off before we could see the first hostages released in this batch.

BROWN: And just a reminder, you know, all these family members who have been waiting so anxiously. You've been talking to some of these family members whose loved ones are being held hostage. We talked about a number, but behind every number there's a human being. What is their response to news of a deal?

CHANCE: Well, yes, you're right. It's an absolutely heartbreaking trauma that the people of Israel are, of course, suffering as a result of these hostages being kept in Gaza. And, of course, what happened on October the 7th. Particularly here, right in the middle of Tel Aviv, there's a sort of daily -- these families and the supporters of those families as well that come here, you know, to make sure it's a big priority for the Israeli government, put pressure on the Israeli government to take as much action as they possibly can to get those people released.

There are mixed feelings here tonight, because even though obviously, there's some excitement that some people could be released very soon, a lot of people will be still remaining hostages. At the end of this process, this is phase of it.

Earlier, I spoke to, a very tragic story actually, one mother who's already lost her 16-year-old son. He was killed by Hamas on October 7th. And then her 13-year-old daughter was abducted, and is a hostage now. And she's optimistic, amazingly, that at least her daughter could not be released. Take a listen.


REUMA TARASCHANSKY, MOTHER OF A 13-YEAR-OLD HELD HOSTAGE BY HAMAS: It's the most -- I have no -- nothing else to believe in, just the way that she will be back soon. The hope is keeping me alive now. And I believe that she will come back. But I can say that for months and more, nobody's from the government -- yesterday --

CHANCE: Nobody spoken with you?

TARASCHANSKY: No. Just -- families, all the families, it was the first time we spoke with them eye to eye. And it's supposed to be much before that, not after week -- months in that.


CHANCE: Does that make you feel that --

TARASCHANSKY: I am angry. We wanted them to say that this is the priority. The hostages is the priority, the first priority of the war. And we didn't heard it from everybody. But now today, they said it, finally. So I'm optimistic now because they said it finally.


CHANCE: Well, Pam, there you have it. Optimistic now but also quite critical of the fact that up until now, the release of those hostages doesn't appear to have been a priority for the Israeli government. Back to you.

BROWN: I just can imagine what that mother and all those other family members have been going through, as they cling on to hope right now, Matthew, stay with us.

Let's bring in CNN's Becky Anderson in Doha, Qatar and CNN's MJ Lee at the White House. Becky, you have been at the forefront with this, reporting on this potential deal. These negotiations for the release of hostages have been going on for weeks. How are these talks able to progress to this point?

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR: Well, I think to Matthew's point, to date, it's been really difficult for negotiators to really bed down what both sides were prepared to concede to, because in the end there are demands from both sides. And the Israelis some weeks ago said they had two objectives. It was to dismantle and get rid of both the political and military assets of Hamas. And then, of course, get all the hostages released.

On that first effort, to really degrade the Hamas assets on the ground in Gaza, the Israelis needed time to get in on the ground and get embedded within Northern Gaza and get that operation ongoing and to establish themselves. And that appears to be to a certain extent what the Israelis wanted to do before they conceded to any of the parameters of this deal, to really establish themselves on the ground for what it's worth.

So from the Israeli side, I think the perspective is, we are now closer to one of our objectives, which is the dismantling of Hamas probably by no means finished. But certainly, you know, having a go at dismantling Hamas and its assets. On the Hamas side, there were two or three things that the group were looking for. One was an exchange of hostages felt held in Israel, for Palestinians, women and teenagers held in Israeli prisons. And the details of this deal, as far as multiple sources have told us, is that that will now be on a three to one ratio. For every one hostage released in this deal, there'll be three released from Israeli prisons. So if there are 50, released in this next four days, then there'll be 150 release on the Palestinian side.

They also wanted to see a pause in hostilities for a significant period of time, looks as if they've got four days. And that pause in hostilities is a pause in the Israeli ground operations and the flying of surveillance drones over Gaza. That will stop for periods of these days. And that suits Hamas who want to, they say, get out and find where these other hostages are. But also some could argue would allow them to reorganize themselves. That might be the argument and certainly is a criticism from someone the right wing of the or in Israel. They also wanted to ensure that there was aid and fuel coming in through the border. And they've certainly got the parameters of this deal. 300 trucks a day access into Gaza from Israel.

So I think over the weeks, the shape of these parameters and the demands on both sides had become easier to deal with, with the -- for the mediators who just needed, they've said for weeks now, a period of calm. So that is why I think we've got to where we are today, this proposal.

Let me just close with this. This proposal was delivered to the Israelis by the cadres the wee hours of this morning. It is now after midnight and they are just waiting to get the green light from the Israelis as far as the category of mediators are concerned. And diplomatic sources I've spoken to say Hamas has already signed off on this deal.

BROWN: And even though Hamas has signed off, you know is one source told me today he's familiar with the negotiations. It is still delicate, it is still sensitive. And anything could still throw things sideways. So I think a lot of people are on the edge of their seats, as we await to see how this is going to play out.

MJ Lee, I want to bring you in from the White House. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he credited President Biden with improving this deal and his remarks before the cabinet meeting. Tell us about that.


MJ LEE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Pam, as you know President Biden and Prime Minister Netanyahu have had many, many conversations since October 7th. And that's not including the trip that President Biden made to Israel to show his support to the people of Israel. And in every single one of those conversations, basically, we are told, the issue of securing the release of these hostages has come up.

And it was very interesting the comments that the Prime Minister made when he was speaking to his cabinet. He said in part, "In the last few days, I talked with our friends, the President of the United States, Joe Biden, I asked for his intervention in order to prove the outline that is presented to you. And it was indeed improved so that it would include more hostages and less prices. These talks bore fruit, President Biden got involved, and I thank him for that."

Netanyahu basically confirming that the US did play a helpful role in trying to get more hostages out as a part of this potential agreement. But we also know, Pam, that the US has been urging, both in private and in public, urging Israel to accept a multiday pause. This is something that the Israelis had shown a real resistance to. You'll recall, even just last weekend, Prime Minister Netanyahu in an interview with CNN's Dana Bash, basically saying a multiday pause he sees as a short ceasefire and that he wasn't OK with it.

So the fact that this is where we are with this potential deal really goes to show you the distance that Israel has traveled, and what concessions are willing to make in order to get these hostages out. BROWN: Yes, that's important context for sure. So, Matthew, as you pointed out, the Israeli government is set to vote on this proposal at any moment now. How soon could this still be given the green lights?

CHANCE: Well, I mean, it could be given the green light tonight. But you also have to, as I think I mentioned earlier, factor in the legal requirements for a 24 hour period of grace, which will allow people in Israel to appeal this decision in the Supreme Court. That pertains particularly to the decision to, you know, through the agreement to release Palestinian prisoners. The way it's been explained to me is that any Israeli who has been affected by the sort of reason that those Palestinians were detained in the first place, has the right to appeal to the Supreme Court for them not to be released.

Now, it's understood that the chances of the Supreme Court intervening to prevent this deal going ahead, you know, given what's at stake are pretty low. But nevertheless, it's a sort of legal hoop that has to be jumped through before this deal if it is passed tonight by the by the cabinet of Israel, before it can fully go into force.

So we're looking at, you know, if it's in a couple of hours tonight, it'll be 24 hours from then before we're likely to see the first hostages, the first prisoner exchanges take place.

BROWN: And, Becky, I know you've been talking to your sources about how to coordinate something like this, right? The logistics, what can you tell us about that, those conversations that are happening behind the scenes for this hostage release?

ANDERSON: Yes. And I think Matthew is right. I mean, don't expect to see these hostages released as soon as this deal is green lit if indeed that is what happens. And let's remember, no deal is a done deal until the deal is done. But it looks like we'll be looking at a window, during which time the Red Cross will get into Gaza, get into where Hamas is holding these hostages at present. We are told that the Red Cross will have an opportunity to see all of those hostages being held by Hamas at present.

And as we understand it, that is something around 50 to 100. They will see all of them whether or not they're getting released in this first phase. And then as Hamas gets out during these pauses, and he's able to gather more hostages currently being held by other groups, families, what was described to me as gangsters by one person, then the Red Cross will also have an opportunity to see those hostages.

This is civilian hostages, women and kids. I've been told primarily kids, and the IDF has told CNN that there are as many as 40 children being held. So likely in this first phase 10 by 10 by 10 by 10, over a period of four to five days. We're likely to see a lot of children coming out. The coordination of that is really complex, one again, to get on the ground.


The pause has to hold, Hamas has to hold what they've said. The Israelis must continue this pause, and then the Red Cross can get in and start this process.

BROWN: Very, very delicate and tenuous as we await to see how this plays out from here. Thank you to you all. And just keep us posted. We'll get back to as soon as there any more developments as we await for this vote to happen in Israel.

Let's turn now to more breaking news. Just ahead, as Israelis a way to vote on that sensitive hostage deal, a key member of Congress will weigh in on what we know about the terms of the agreement and what it means for the war against Hamas.


BROWN: Let's get back to the breaking news. We're following a hostage deal between Israel and Hamas apparently eminent but still not finalized. For more on that, I want to bring in Democratic Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin. So, congresswoman, what is your reaction to this deal that appears to be imminent?

REP. ELISSA SLOTKIN (D-MI): Yes. I mean, obviously a really, really important moment and extremely positive things. You can only imagine the families of the hostages right now just like you holding on for that last final word. It's really important for getting humanitarian assistance into Gaza, but also I think an important moment to take a strategic pause.


You know, I've been talking about the importance of understanding the goals from the Israelis, understanding how they're going to go forward, what their attempts are. And I think this gives us that opportunity. And hopefully, it can be extended beyond the original four days.

BROWN: So I want to talk a little bit more about that, because as you know, Israel's concern is that potentially Hamas could kind of regroup during this pause. And we know that as part of the deal, there will be suspended drone operations from Israel side for several hours a day. Do you believe that Hamas is negotiating in good faith here and will follow through with the terms of the final deal?

SLOTKIN: Well, I mean, this is the problem. You don't you don't get to pick your adversaries, and we're going to have to act in good faith and hope that they can deliver. And I certainly know, there's been folks from the White House who've been helping on this deal, you know, folks that are just like involved in the mix with a cutleries and a bunch of other parties. And so, all you can do whenever you go into negotiation is act in good faith and the desperate hope for those hostage families is that they follow through with what they say they're going to do.

BROWN: Have you seen any intelligence that proves the American hostages are still alive?

SLOTKIN: You know, we've been having classified briefings in the House of Representatives. They haven't gone in case by case and told us about specific hostages. We don't have a ton of evidence that they're not alive. And so you got to hope and got to act. I know, when the United States of America has American hostages taken abroad, we stop at nothing until we get them home. And so, that is the planning factor that they are now using. And I have every expectation I hope that they are so alive.

BROWN: Two have Israel's far right parties, they say that they will not support this deal with one saying, "our demand is a deal that releases everyone." Do you think that's a realistic expectation, given the fact that for Hamas, these hostages are their biggest bargaining chip? I mean, the majority is still remained in captivity, even after the 50 could be released as part of this potential deal?

SLOTKIN: Yes. I think, you know, the people who are rejecting this outright, have never had to sit at a negotiating table with an adversary, with someone who doesn't like you, and negotiate hard things. And whether we like it or not, when Hamas came into Israel and took these, these innocent people, the civilians in a terrorist attack, they changed the game. And it forced us to have this conversation with them.

No one likes negotiating with a terrorist. But to say that they're going to dismiss it out of hand, either they're not empathetic and not thinking about the hostage family, they aren't understanding the strategic play right now. So that to me sounds like politics more than actually caring about human beings.

BROWN: And you sort of touched on this a little bit earlier in our conversation about, you know, White House officials playing a role. We heard Prime Minister Netanyahu thanking President Biden today for his help in these negotiations. Can you just expand on how big of a role in the US is the US playing and all of this?

SLOTKIN: Well, certainly there are senior folks from the White House who worked on the Middle East who have been shuttling between places like Qatar. Obviously, the White House-Israel, certainly, I've been hearing reports, you know, through colleagues that they are right in the mix and helping to broker these conversations.

Oftentimes, when you have tough negotiations between people who can't stand to sit across the table from each other, the United States government can often be the convening power the group that brings people together to try and have those tough conversations. And that's my understanding right now, and that's an important role for the United States at this moment.

BROWN: And then to follow up on that, what can you tell us about the release of any Americans that are held hostage by Hamas or dual citizens?

SLOTKIN: Yes. I don't know anything about that. I know that that's potentially on the table. You've reported yourself, it's women and children first, it's civilians. And I know that some of the dual American citizens are members of the Israeli military, so I don't expect them in that first tranche. I know that when the United States has hostages, we just we just do not give up on those people. And so my hope is that at least some of them will be those dual citizen Americans.

BROWN: All right. Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin, thank you so much.

SLOTKIN: Thank you.

BROWN: Up next, we're going to get a live report from Israel where families of hostages are anxiously awaiting a deal to release their loved ones. I'm going to speak with one woman whose nephew is being held captive in Gaza. Stay with us. You're in the Situation Room.



BROWN: SLOTKIN: Back to our breaking news. A hostage deal between Israel and Hamas appears to be extremely close at this hour. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urging his cabinet to ratify the agreement.

Let's bring in CNN Jeremy Diamond joining us from Sderot, Israel, not far from the Gaza border. Jeremy, what are the latest developments in this potential hostage deal?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Pam, at this hour, the Israeli cabinet meeting appears to still be ongoing. The Israeli prime minister at the start of that meeting, made his case to his cabinet for why they should agree to back a deal that he says is a difficult one but that he called the right one.

He said that the entire security establishment in Israel is behind this deal that would see about 50 hostages have freed over the course of four to five days in exchange for a pause in the fighting as well as three Palestinian prisoners being release for every one civilian hostage release as part of this deal. There is also the possibility of additional hostages being released after those four to five days with the possibility of additional days of ceasefire as well. But the Israeli Prime Minister tonight making very clear that regardless of the deal that may go forward and the pause in the fighting that may happen, that the war will continue. He said tonight that the world will continue so long as all of the hostages -- until all of the hostages are returned to Israel, and until the goals of the war in terms of destroying Hamas and removing it from its hold on power in Gaza are achieved.


BROWN: So on that note, you've seen some activity in northern Gaza tonight, right?

DIAMOND: Yeah, no doubt about it. I mean, even as these negotiations have been entering the final stretch here and the security cabinet has begun to consider this deal. We are watching still tonight as there is ongoing shelling of the Gaza Strip, ongoing explosions. And we also are watching a fire raging in the area near the Jabalia refugee camp where we know that in recent days, Israeli forces have been operating very, very actively.

And we also know, Pam, that if passed this prologue, in the hours before a pause in the fighting or a truce goes into effect, we do often see an uptick in the fighting between Israel and Hamas. So we are certainly monitoring this area for that.

BROWN: And you've also been talking to loved ones of the hostages. How are those families whose loved ones are being held hostage responding to the developments of the potential deal?

DIAMOND: You know, Pam, they are going through just an absolute emotional roller coaster. I've been in touch with several hostage families over the course of the last several weeks. And I spoke to two of them today, who have family members who are children who are being held hostage in Gaza. These are the families that could potentially benefit from this deal that would see dozens of women and children freed.

And yet they are still in a state of anxiety and uncertainty because they still do not know if their family members will be included on that list of people. I spoke tonight with Yifat Zeiler (ph) who is the cousin of Shiri Bibas, who she and her two young children aged 10 months and four years old, were taken hostage on October 7th. Yifat (ph) told me that she is hopeful when she sees these reports of a deal.

But she still doesn't have a lot of information from the Israeli government. And she said that until she sees her cousin and her nephews come out of Gaza until she is able to hug them. She won't know that they're home and that they're safe. Pam?

BROWN: Jeremy Diamond, thank you so much.

And let's bring in Yael Engel Lichi, her nephew, Ofir, was kidnapped by Hamas. And you just heard Jeremy just talking about how anxiety ridden all of you are, all the family members waiting for their loved ones to be released or just feeling the psychological torture that this has been for you since October 7th. We're told the hostages who are expected to be released will primarily be children, your nephew, Ofir, is just 17 years old. Do you know if he will be among them? How hopeful are you?

YAEL ENGEL LICHI, NEPHEW KIDNAPPED BY HAMAS: Hi, Pam, thank you for having me. And we keep our hope for 46 days. We won't give up now. But we don't have any information, not about Ofir's condition and not about this deal. Because all we know is from the media. As you know, as your reporter said now, we don't know anything for sure. And as if I told your -- Jeremy, that we'll be sure that he's home when we -- when I see Sharon (ph), his mother, hugging. And I know this night, personal nightmare is over. But we won't talk until everyone gets home.

BROWN: Have you been --

LICHI: -- what's happening here.

BROWN: No, understandably. Have you been in communication with the Israeli government? What do you know about how he's been doing while he's been held hostage?

LICHI: We don't know anything. The last time we got a message from him was Saturday, October 7th at half past 12:00 noon. He said to us by message that here, Arab, talk in the house. They're very afraid. He has been to his girlfriend on Shabbat, visiting her and her family. We live in Jerusalem. So it was so random the people they took and they just took him from the safe room took him with a black small car to Gaza.

Since then, we didn't hear anything. We just heard one time that he is considered hostage and not missing anymore. We don't know why, we don't know how, we didn't get any sign of life. And as you can imagine or you can't imagine because it's not possible to imagine, what a nightmare.


BROWN: Yeah. And you've talked about just the very long nightmare this has been for you and your family. How have you and your brother, Ofir's father, been doing since the Hamas terrorists took him? How do you get through each day? How do you sleep at night? Like you said, I can't imagine.

LICHI: No. And I can tell you that we keep doing anything and everything we can. Ofir has also a Dutch nationality. So we are in touch with the Dutch government. We met the Prime Minister of the Netherlands. We are in touch with the ambassador in Israel. And my father and Ofir's father went to the Netherlands to meet some Parliament people. And they also succeeded to meet there, the Qatar ambassador, and ask him, beg for him to bring fear home, together with all the hostages.

And I don't know how we do it, because you know, we didn't choose it. But from that day, every one of us stopped his life. And we are working in it. We are interviewing everywhere to keep the world informed. And we won't let anyone sit still until they come home. It's really but -- it's not only the hostages. We are talking about it now. But you have to speak about the humanitarian crisis in Israel.

We have 100,000 people evacuated from their homes. They are refugees. Ofir was taken from his girlfriend's house with his girlfriend's father. And her father is not in the deal now. So we still won't have every -- anyone back. And Ofir's girlfriend with her two sisters and mother, they were safe and they got to the hotel in the Dead Sea, with pajamas, barefoot, and their house was burnt to ashes.

So you can imagine all these people, all these tens of thousands of people have to start over the life again, with all these murders in their families. And I don't know what to tell you. First of all, we want to feel home first. But then we have a very, very long way to go until we go back to life.

BROWN: I think that's really important perspective, so much heartache right now. Yael Engel Lichi, thank you. We'll be right back.

LICHI: Thank you very much.



BROWN: Well, U.S. officials tell CNN, American military aircraft have fired on and killed hostile forces after Iranian-backed militants launched a ballistic missile attack on an airbase in Iraq. CNN national security reporter Natasha Bertrand joins us. Natasha, this is the first time the militants have used ballistic missiles to target U.S. forces, right?

NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: That's right. So in this recent spate of attacks that have been ongoing since October 17th, pretty much daily by these Iran-backed groups, they have largely been using rockets and drones and kind of smaller equipment to target these bases. But in yesterday's attack on Al-Asad Airbase in Iraq, they actually used a close range ballistic missile, according to the Pentagon. And that is a really significant escalation because these missiles, they can travel greater distances, they have larger warheads. And all around can cause greater damage to these bases and pose a greater risk of injury to U.S. service members.

And so despite the U.S.'s efforts to try to deter these attacks by these Iran-backed back groups, they have launched attacks three times on. You have Iranian facilities in Syria being used for weapons storage, and training facilities, for example, the Iran-backed groups continue to launch these attacks, pretty much almost daily. The number now stands since October 17th, at over 60 attacks on U.S. and coalition bases in Iraq and Syria.

And the U.S. did retaliate yet again, against this U.S., this Iran- backed strike on this base in Iraq, just yesterday, targeting a vehicle that the U.S. says was carrying some of these militants, and that strike did ultimately kill several of those attackers in that vehicle. But still, the question remains, you know, how sustainable is this U.S. approach, because while the U.S. is trying to deter these groups, trying to communicate to Iran that they expect the Iranians to rein in these proxy forces, clearly at these Iran-backed militias, they are not deterred. Pam?

BROWN: Yeah. They clearly aren't. As you point out how many attacks there have been since October 17th. Natasha Bertrand, thank you very much.

Well, last hour, a Georgia judge decided not to send one of Donald Trump's codefendants to jail after prosecutors claimed he violated his bail conditions. CNN's Evan Perez joins us. So Evan, walk us through what happened in court today for Harrison Floyd?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, the Judge Scott McAfee had some reluctance about enforcing or doing what the prosecutors were saying he should do, which is to essentially revoke his bail conditions. Because Harrison Floyd has made a number of inflammatory comments on social media, things attacking potential witnesses, obviously for this case in Georgia, including people who helped certify the election in 2020.

So one of the things that Fani Willis was saying is that it was clear that these were things that Harrison Floyd should not be doing and that the judge needed to essentially cut -- bring it down on him because of that, listen to her arguments today in court.


FANI WILLIS, FULTON COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: He was given an opportunity to cooperate with the rules of this case. And what he really did was spit on the court and refused to abide by three of the seven conditions of this bond order. And what we're really here to decide today is does this order mean something or not? That he doesn't get a, oh, I'm sorry, after I've already intimidated the witnesses in this case, it's too late.



PEREZ: As you can see.


PEREZ: Very fiery. It was a very fiery hearing. And that was Fani Willis arguing this hearing herself, that's the first time we've seen her appear and do these arguments personally. She usually has district attorney, other prosecutors doing this. And what it really does, you know, it gives us a little bit of a window into how we might see her arguing when this case finally does go to trial, it's sometime in the coming months.

But one of the things that I think you can take away from this is you can see the judge having a lot of reluctance to revoke bail, again, defendants have a right to defend themselves. They have a right to criticize their prosecution. They have first amendment rights. And I think that's what you're seeing from this judge. A lot like what you saw yesterday, right? You and I were talking about this yesterday with the appeals court. You know, they were definitely troubled by some of the things that the former President Trump says on social media, and they believe that obviously, there's some limits.

But as you can see, they're also very, very conscious about the rights of defendants to defend themselves and to speak out publicly. So I think you're going to see a new order from this judge, which will define what Harrison Floyd sought to say.

BROWN: All right, we shall see. Evan Perez, thanks.

All right, so on that note, let's bring in CNN legal analyst Carrie Cordero and Elliot Williams. So what do you think Elliot? You know, Evan points out, once again, it's this tricky balance, these judges are trying to strike, right? Allowing these defendants to defend themselves and criticize the prosecution, but also as Fani Willis claims, you know, Harrison Floyd, in this case, he violated the terms of his agreement. So are you surprised by the judge's decision?

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I mean, a little bit because the judge could easily have revoked his bond and locked him up. The problem is that you have a few issues there. Number one, this was the point Evan was making defendants as we talked about this yesterday.


WILLIAMS: It's deja vu. Defendants have a right to speak and they have a right to criticize the process, and claim their innocence and so on. And so that is going to create a thorny free speech or First Amendment question. In any case, you've also got this other problem where there's another defendant in this case, who keeps speaking publicly and getting away with it.

Now, certainly, Donald Trump's statements often are in the context of other legal proceedings, not this one. But he's certainly made statements that were as inflammatory if not more so than what Harrison Floyd did, and then blocking Harrison Floyd up for the same conduct of the former president that he's gotten away with. We just have created an odd situation. And I don't -- and I think courts are going to continue to struggle with this, as long as the former president is still defendant.

BROWN: And on that note, I want to bring in Carrie about this, you know, decision that judges in D.C. are looking at whether to reinstate the gag order for Donald Trump on the election subversion case, those arguments were made yesterday. Are you surprised? We don't know yet, Carrie, what the judge's decision is in this case?

CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: No. Not in that case. I mean, I think it can come soon. But they might, you know, take a few days to determine it. Certainly the case has to proceed. So they can't take too long to decide. But I'm not necessarily surprised that it hasn't come down in a day. I mean, just to follow up a bit, you know, and pick up where Elliot left off as well as it relates to both the Georgia case and the federal case.

I think the overall issue that all of these different judges, whether at the state level or at the federal level are really going to have to be careful about and what they're probably struggling with is they have to make sure any rule that they come up with in the context of a particular individual or particular defendant has to be applied equitably.

So whatever rule in the Georgia case, the judge decides to draw the line at for Mr. Floyd. The judge then also has to be prepared to draw that exact same line for the former president. And it's similar to the issue with the federal case as well, any of the defendants who, in the federal case, the former president, or the Georgia case, the multiple defendants, any of these defendants who engage in social media who speak publicly, which is many of them, have to be -- the law has to be applied to them equally, when it comes to what they're going to be allowed to say in the context of defending themselves in the court of public opinion.

BROWN: Yeah. I think will carry a lot of weight as you point out. Carrie and Elliot, thank you.

Well, coming up and updates on Thanksgiving travel as bad weather snarls, air traffic and makes driving miserable for millions of Americans.



BROWN: Well, tens of millions of people will be hitting the road or taken to the skies and what's expected to be the busiest Thanksgiving travel season in years but travel plans could be disrupted by a storm system that is expanding across the eastern United States. CNN aviation correspondent Pete Muntean joins us now from Reagan National Airport right outside Washington. It seems like this happens all the time, the holidays come about and then a storm system rolls through so how are flights look at right now. Pete?

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know there are delays simply getting to the airport right now, Pamela. Look at this live tower cam from over Reagan National Airport here. And you can see the long line of headlights all these cars simply trying to work their way through this cold rain that is hitting here and at airports up and down the east coast. The FAA has imposed a ground delay program meaning keeping planes on the ground in Charlotte, one of the biggest hubs for American Airlines, 90 minutes is the average delay there.

This is really coming at an inopportune time for airlines, one of the biggest days pre-holiday in terms of the number of flights scheduled, 48,000 in total. Today we're talking 2.6 million people passing through TSA checkpoints nationwide. The cancellations have remained relatively steady and pretty low around 59 right now. But the delays according to the latest numbers from FlightAware, keep going up, 3,545. I want you to listen now to TSA Administrator David Pekoske, who told me it is imperative for you to get to the airport early and be on your game as you're going through security checkpoints as to not make these delays even worse. Listen?



DAVID PEKOSKE, TSA ADMINISTRATOR: Thinking more time. So arrive at the airport a little bit earlier. Think through the process steps you're going to go through, through screening because you don't want to be that passenger that holds everybody else up.


MUNTEAN: American Airlines interesting tidbit from them, they scheduled 23,000 flights from Thursday to Sunday. They only canceled two of them, Pamela. We'll see if airlines can continue to streak.

BROWN: Yeah. Hopefully those cancellations are few and far between. Pete Muntean, thank you so much. Well, coming up more on our top story, the proposed hostage deal between Israel and Hamas. We'll bring you all the latest details right after a quick break.